CORPUS CHRISTI – Louie Garza was a part of the only cross country team the school ever sponsored in 1973 when it was University of Corpus Christi. Garza is a graduate of Moody HS where he won a cross country state championship during his sophomore year.
GoIslanders.com caught up with Garza:
GI: Can you describe the 1973 cross country team
LG: I'm one of three runners from that team who is still in the area.1973 was the only year to compete. We were Texas A&I Corpus Christi. We were all pretty young. We didn't do very well but we were competitive. We were all freshmen so we were all in awe when we were at some of these tri-meets with schools like Lamar and other universities.
GI: Who was your coach and what was his coaching style?
LG: Joe Ash was our coach and he was also the Dean of the Dormitory for the guys. He was great, he loved to take us to the beach and run. He would drop us off at one end of the beach and pick us up on the other end.
GI: What meets did you compete in?
LG: We ran in the conference meet in Denton, Texas. We didn't finish last and many teams competed. We competed as an independent. We would run the UCC six mile and a tri-meet at Pan Am in Edinburg. We were the Tarpons. We didn't go to cross country meets every weekend like they do now. I wish we could have. I think we did what was necessary.
GI: Can you describe the University of Corpus Christi?
LG: There were maybe 600 at the university, so everybody knew everybody. It was a small university. People from all walks came here. There were some local students, but most folks were from the east coast and some from the north who wanted to come down here where it's warm. We had Island temperatures and weather.
GI: What are you doing now?
LG: When I left UCC, I got a job and then I got married. I worked for AT&T for 27 years. I still run every year in Corpus Christi. My daughter and I have competed in the last 17 Beach to Bay Relays. At least once a year I do that.
GI: Do you follow the Islanders cross country team?
LG: Coach Flanagan and I have talked about the track and cross country. I've always kept up with the university. It's awesome. It's full blown Division I competitive now. I'm so proud of Coach Flanagan and the team. They represent Corpus Christi really well. Most are local runners and I was talking to some of them at the Corpus Christi Roadrunners dinner. I was impressed with them. They represent the school so well. Cross country has evolved … its big time now. Hopefully I'll be able to help Coach Flanagan out at the new track.
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